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"No one cares." - invalidation and realizing I may have bipolar disorder

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pupper8

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
7
Location
Park City, UT
I do not start my first therapy session for another two weeks, but my moods have been significantly worse in the last few months. I have dealt with my mental issues on my own for the last ten years, but I finally sought treatment and therapy last month after seeing that little progress has been made in all that time.
I took a series of screening tools through my University, and found that I have generalized anxiety and symptoms consistent with depression. However, results also found that my behaviors are positive with bipolar disorder. Upon these results, I took several screenings on bipolar disorder and keep getting positive matches, up to 86% through one of the tools.

I will wait until my therapy session to talk more about it and see if these findings are accurate. I have found myself in severe highs and lows, sometimes simultaneously, and this has been a pattern continuing for quite a few years, but I am noticing the pattern getting more significant lately. I will feel overly confident and independent, but then a small, likely irrelevant thing will trigger me based on past traumatic events, and I sink into a feeling of hopelessness where my thoughts swirl my head and won't settle down. Then with time, I'm back into the confident stage after a period of feeling emotionally numb following my pessimistic episode.

Upon dealing with my mental stress and past events that have triggered my stress (bullying, manipulation, harassment), my support from family has not been super validating, which is why I decided to seek counseling on my own. In every situation, I am told that I need to forgive and forget what has happened to me, and to be the bigger person. This has not helped me in that I continued to be harassed and my anxiety has gotten worse, leading to my emotions being triggered by very small occurrences that might not matter to other people, including family.

Last night, I experienced a major episode when a family friend who had caused me emotional distress was invited over to my home. When I said hello and was met with little greeting, including an uncomfortable smile, I was weirdly set off. I escaped to my bedroom and uncontrollably cried, recalling what I had experienced months before with that person. I am currently living with a sibling, who witnessed the experience I had gone through and dislikes the way I was treated.

In an attempt to be calmed and seek help, I contacted my mother. I explained that I was not mentally prepared to be with this person and was triggered by the response I received from them. Her first response was that she did not understand why this situation was still a big deal to me and told me I was being dramatic. While my reaction seemed unwarranted from such a small instance, my mind went to flashbacks and I couldn't help but feel distressed. My mother also told me that I need to "get over it" at least 3-4 times, that what happened was 6 months ago, and that I need to stop telling my sibling how I feel about the situation as my "negativity is affecting [my sibling's] perception of [the person]."

After the call, I received a text from my father, who said only this to me: "Drop it. It's over. No one cares." The uncontrollable sobbing and deep, heaving breaths resumed. I had always been afraid to tell my parents about my problems with bullying and trauma in the past for fear that they would not care or do much to help me. This led to resorting to self-harm and acting "out of character" in the past, of course neither of them know of my destructive behaviors. That statement basically solidified that I was right in that they don't care about my emotional distress, and that I just need to forgive whoever did me wrong and move on without accepting my true feelings. I wish it were that easy, and it's not for lack of trying multiple times over the span of a decade among different people.

I wonder if what I am going through will even be considered more so if I have an official diagnosis. I am sick of not being listened to or validated, and all day I have actively avoided my parents. I worry, though, that this counters exactly what they told me last night. "I shouldn't hold a grudge;" "I need to get over it" and not let it bother me, when I am severely bothered by the disregard for my mental health and minimal likelihood of getting better if what's happening is not addressed, rather than keep sweeping my problems under the rug, as I have been raised to do.

My distress lasted into the morning, but it has begun to fade away and now I am in the emotionally numb stage, hoping to get back into the optimistic stage. Although now I feel nervous, knowing I'm bound to plunge back into distress again at some point.

Anything helps. Thank you.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Apr 20, 2019
Messages
614
Location
England
Hi pupper, welcome.
I can't speak for what you're going through because I don't know exactly what your past has included, but I can speak from my own experience and say that getting a thorough mental health assessment and subsequent diagnosis is the most important thing, as all treatment flows from this foundation. If you get set on the wrong foundation you're going nowhere fast with what you're trying to (re)build.
Can I just ask though, have you tried any medications for your problems, and if so, which kinds?
 
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toucan

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Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
56
Location
Chicago, IL
I'm sorry that your parents confirmed that they aren't sensitive to the serious distress you're in. That is one of the worst and loneliest feelings.

I would be cautious about convincing yourself that you have bipolar disorder, but I hope you're able to find help quickly if you pursue a diagnosis.

Would it help if you talked out your experience with this person here in the forum? Just nothing too personally identifying.
 
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VekSkyRain

New member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
4
Location
United States
Hi Pupper! This is my first post too, and I am a diagnosed Bipolar II and have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I absolutely know those feelings you are having. As toucan said- avoid self diagnosis as you could be hurting yourself instead of helping.

First off, your feelings are not invalidated or unworthy or don't matter because a loved one said to get over it. Your feelings and emotions are YOURS and they are real. I find people do that because they don't want to face those same feelings themselves. They would rather remain neutral- unaware, or not involved, even at the expense of the hurt and pain of a loved one because it's easier. Don't stir the pot- to turn a phrase. The best thing you can do right now is EXACTLY what you are doing- seeking the support of a therapist.

It took me time to let out things to my therapist that I was scared to say- and I only finally went to one because my marriage ended. It was the best decision for me, and even after 5 years of therapy, it took a new psychiatrist to finally say to me "Has anyone ever suggested you might be bipolar?" What a shock to my system that was. But knowing what I know now- therapy was a blessing in disguise. I truly hope it will be for you too. And if you don't like your therapist right away- be cautious, and if you just don't connect, seek out a new one. No decent therapist will EVER be offended a patient decided to seek help elsewhere. It takes the RIGHT therapist to be helpful.
 
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pupper8

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
7
Location
Park City, UT
Hi pupper, welcome.
I can't speak for what you're going through because I don't know exactly what your past has included, but I can speak from my own experience and say that getting a thorough mental health assessment and subsequent diagnosis is the most important thing, as all treatment flows from this foundation. If you get set on the wrong foundation you're going nowhere fast with what you're trying to (re)build.
Can I just ask though, have you tried any medications for your problems, and if so, which kinds?
Hi Wishbone,
Thank you so much for the words. I completely agree that getting thoroughly assessed is the right step, the other replies have been about being aware of self-diagnosis, which I absolutely don't want to delve into. I was unsure on how I would get that kind of access, but I am hoping to ask my therapist about it next Friday.
I have not tried any medications, as I haven't undergone treatment for mental health and wouldn't know what I would need. The closest thing I have used is over-the-counter melatonin to help me fall asleep and stay asleep.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Apr 20, 2019
Messages
614
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England
May I ask what age bracket you fall into? 18-25, 45-60, for example?
 
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pupper8

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
7
Location
Park City, UT
I'm sorry that your parents confirmed that they aren't sensitive to the serious distress you're in. That is one of the worst and loneliest feelings.

I would be cautious about convincing yourself that you have bipolar disorder, but I hope you're able to find help quickly if you pursue a diagnosis.

Would it help if you talked out your experience with this person here in the forum? Just nothing too personally identifying.
Hi Toucan,

Thank you very much for the guidance. I definitely agree that I need to be super aware before I self-diagnose. I just tell myself that I am anxious and worried, but try not to assign a label. I am hoping that my therapist can help me with this next week as I undergo my first session.

I think talking about the experience might help with some background. I currently live with two siblings, and one of them moved to a new apartment in another city, but has recently returned to where I am now. Back in September, I was exposed to and contracted COVID-19 after visiting one of my closest friends at her home who had it but was unaware at the time. Naturally but understandably, my family and I panicked a little bit but luckily I had already been in my bedroom doing work when I found out about my exposure. None of my siblings ended up getting it from me, both tested negative twice.

One of my siblings (AB - not real initials, just an example) was supposed to move into their new apartment with friends, but postponed it after their roommates found out I had the coronavirus. After one week, AB tested negative again, but their roommates still wouldn't let AB move into the apartment, telling AB that they would have to have tested negative another month from now before getting to move in. Although this is strict, AB's roommates were being slightly hypocritical with the COVID-19 precautions, posting pictures on social media of traveling between states and eating out at restaurants. AB and I felt very trapped and under a harsh lens. I don't even know AB's roommates, but I felt awful at how my contraction of the virus was keeping AB from moving to the city of their dreams with their friends.

Isolating while having COVID-19 was a very tough experience for someone who is super prone to overthinking and going down a rabbit hole of heavy emotions. I felt that since I am a college student, I was seen as reckless and being careless with the coronavirus, only because I had gotten it in the first week of school. I never went to a party or a small gathering or out to a restaurant with friends, I just went to one friend's house, and that friend happened to have it. While isolating, I scheduled out every single thing I did each day, from homework, to what apps I was going to go on, to 3 yoga workouts per day. I couldn't even go to the kitchen to grab a snack when I pleased, I had to hope someone was not busy to bring me food. The worst part was being completely by myself in one bedroom, I relived a lot of past experiences that I continually blamed myself for letting happen, including bullying in middle and high school as well as sexual harassment in my first year of college. It was all I could think about for days, and I fought to make the thoughts go away, but they just kept coming back. I was supposed to isolate for 10 days, but for the sake of AB and their friends who wanted me to stay in my room and not be around anybody, I did not leave the bedroom once for 14 days. Even when my isolation was done and I was no longer contagious, AB would freak out and not let me leave my room. I started to have troubling associations with that bedroom with all the negative thoughts and treatment I was getting because I was isolating in there. My other sibling (BC) witnessed how AB's friends wouldn't let me leave isolation and how AB was controlled by their friends to make sure I didn't leave the room, well after my infectious period was over.

I ended up moving back with my parents shortly after getting out of isolation. I left my college friends behind since I had just become too paranoid with anything I would do with people outside my home. Friends asking me to hang out, even safely, became worrisome, because of the one thing that happened where I got the virus, wasn't treated well, and my family stopped trusting some of my friends. I decided to go back with my siblings this year, and I have been super cautious if I reunite with any of my friends, only meeting in very small groups, wearing masks, and staying outside. I don't want to risk anything similar happening to that fall again. My siblings have their friends over, and there is little fuss because no one has gotten the virus. When I ask to see friends or even to have one friend over, there's way more hesitation because of the fact that I got the virus from one friend.

As of last night, AB had the roommates over, and I was nervous for the day that would come. I had never met them before, but the first impression I had was not great in terms of how I was treated and how they controlled AB to keep me in my place. I told AB it was fine for them to come over, but then once I actually met them for the first time, my head went in a completely different direction and reminded me of all the repercussions I faced due to how they treated me from afar. This was definitely a long story, but at this point, the people themselves bothered me less than what happened with me after what they put me through. And because nobody else in my house had to isolate in the way that I did, they didn't know how I was feeling mentally and just expected me to go on with my life and get over it, just like everyone else apparently had.
 
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pupper8

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
7
Location
Park City, UT
Hi Pupper! This is my first post too, and I am a diagnosed Bipolar II and have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I absolutely know those feelings you are having. As toucan said- avoid self diagnosis as you could be hurting yourself instead of helping.

First off, your feelings are not invalidated or unworthy or don't matter because a loved one said to get over it. Your feelings and emotions are YOURS and they are real. I find people do that because they don't want to face those same feelings themselves. They would rather remain neutral- unaware, or not involved, even at the expense of the hurt and pain of a loved one because it's easier. Don't stir the pot- to turn a phrase. The best thing you can do right now is EXACTLY what you are doing- seeking the support of a therapist.

It took me time to let out things to my therapist that I was scared to say- and I only finally went to one because my marriage ended. It was the best decision for me, and even after 5 years of therapy, it took a new psychiatrist to finally say to me "Has anyone ever suggested you might be bipolar?" What a shock to my system that was. But knowing what I know now- therapy was a blessing in disguise. I truly hope it will be for you too. And if you don't like your therapist right away- be cautious, and if you just don't connect, seek out a new one. No decent therapist will EVER be offended a patient decided to seek help elsewhere. It takes the RIGHT therapist to be helpful.
Hi VekSkyRain,

Thank you for your helpful words and sharing your personal story as well. It really does help knowing that I can own my feelings and, while they may not please everybody, they exist. I for sure want to steer clear of self-diagnosis, I think I was surprised at the mental health screening tools and wanted to do more research. However, I know it will be best to talk it out with somebody who can help and not base my knowledge off of a computer.

I actually agree with you on my loved ones' stance. They are very against conflict and stirring the pot, even if it really is the best thing for someone they love. I hope the intention was not to hurt me, but just to wake me up and push me to move on. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm wired that way, and I hope my therapist can help guide me through the process.

Thank you very much as well for the experiences you had with your therapist and the guidance on finding out what therapy works for me and what may not. I am very new to this, but I hope to utilize the resources I have and get me through this mentality well into the next stages of life.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Apr 20, 2019
Messages
614
Location
England
Okay cool, thanks. I only asked because if you were say 55 years old and you'd never seen a doc or had any kind of meds as a result of your problems then you'd be thinking surely something would have showed by now so unlikely (although not impossible) to be Bipolar.

Would you say that your moods are generally reactive to things happening, as in the example given of meeting someone at the door? And how often do they change? (Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get a feel for where you're at. If you would prefer no questioning just say and I'll stop).
 
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pupper8

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
7
Location
Park City, UT
Okay cool, thanks. I only asked because if you were say 55 years old and you'd never seen a doc or had any kind of meds as a result of your problems then you'd be thinking surely something would have showed by now so unlikely (although not impossible) to be Bipolar.

Would you say that your moods are generally reactive to things happening, as in the example given of meeting someone at the door? And how often do they change? (Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get a feel for where you're at. If you would prefer no questioning just say and I'll stop).
It's no problem at all, it actually helps to write things out and put my feelings into words.
I would say my moods arise in a combination of ways. They can be reactive, so if I see or hear something that's triggering, I'll get back into my low, pessimistic mood. However, they also tend to come up out of nowhere based on a random thought that comes into my head. Getting in and out of these moods feels uncontrollable, where I feel I can't get out of the distressed mood, but then all of a sudden, the situation no longer bothers me for a time.
Some of these moods can last up to a few days at a time, depending on the situation. When it comes to past events, the lingering feelings have lasted for a few years, and if I think too much on them, I get into a state that lasts for at least one day but can last for few days as well.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Messages
614
Location
England
Okay, thanks for that. Going by all you've said here there are a few things that make me think it's not likely to be Bipolar, but something else. I wouldn't want to say what I think it is as I'm not qualified to do that and it would be wrong of me to lead you down any kind of path - and hey, I might be totally wrong about the Bipolar thing anyway!

The one thing I will say is that it seems like your problems centre on historical events and that thinking about them, or being reminded of them, is what impacts upon your mood at that time. Would that be right/wrong? If that's right do you think a more therapeutic approach would be better for you so you can talk about all of these things, rather than a medicinal approach? I know you've got that starting soon but just thinking about what you think will help you most of all, do you think that's it, that these are things you need to get out and in doing that it will gradually unburden you?
 
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pupper8

Member
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Messages
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Location
Park City, UT
Okay, thanks for that. Going by all you've said here there are a few things that make me think it's not likely to be Bipolar, but something else. I wouldn't want to say what I think it is as I'm not qualified to do that and it would be wrong of me to lead you down any kind of path - and hey, I might be totally wrong about the Bipolar thing anyway!

The one thing I will say is that it seems like your problems centre on historical events and that thinking about them, or being reminded of them, is what impacts upon your mood at that time. Would that be right/wrong? If that's right do you think a more therapeutic approach would be better for you so you can talk about all of these things, rather than a medicinal approach? I know you've got that starting soon but just thinking about what you think will help you most of all, do you think that's it, that these are things you need to get out and in doing that it will gradually unburden you?
You could be absolutely right, I know once I got those positive results from the screenings provided by my University, I started finding myself aligning with some of the symptoms. However, I do study Disability Studies, and I know that the medical model of disabilities does not encompass the many ways these disorders can manifest. I actually am set to speak to a therapist tomorrow, so hopefully I can at least get a sense of validation for how I feel and work to deal with my emotions, I realize I don't necessarily need a label to be listened to or vice versa.

I haven't thought too much about a medicinal approach, and thankfully, I haven't turned to substance abuse to cope with my anxiety. I would say historical and sometimes present occurrences trigger my moods, but you do have a point in that historical occurrences have shaped my psyche in a way in terms of how I view myself and the world as of now.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Messages
614
Location
England
Will you let us know how you get on with your therapist? And be sure to ask about getting an assessment. Hope it goes well.
 
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